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Edisto High School illustration

Orangeburg County will receive federal funding to extend sewer lines to Edisto High School.

The county is getting a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan and a $1.5 million USDA grant to extend sewer lines in the Orangeburg County-West Edisto Sewer System.

About $750,000 will also be used from Orangeburg County’s 1 percent capital project sales tax.

The primary purpose of this project is to connect Edisto High School to the existing county sewer system.

"The school has had a small wastewater treatment plant for years with a lagoon system," Orangeburg County Engineer John McLauchlin said. "It has had problems through the years as the school has grown, but they have not grown the capacity of the lagoon and the system."

"This helps Edisto High School take care of their direct needs and it allows them to grow without having wastewater limits," McLauchlin said.

In addition, McLauchlin said the sewer line extension will mean between 80 and 100 residential customers will be able to tap into public wastewater if they so choose. Currently, the homes are on septic systems.

The county hopes to put the project out to bid in the spring of 2020 and complete it in the spring of 2021.

This is the fourth and final phase of the county-owned and designed West Edisto Sewer System project which has benefited from the county's 1 percent capital sales tax and USDA funds in each of its phases.

This final phase will begin at the intersection of Cordova Road and Huson Circle and will extend through the town of Cordova and then to the high school, McLauchlin said.

The lines will not extend to U.S. Highway 301. Currently, that region of U.S. 301 does have water lines and but no public wastewater.

Phase one of the project took sewer lines to the area at the corner of U.S. 301 and Cannon Bridge Road. The second phase took it to the area near Rivelon Road and the third phase extended it to the Huson Circle area.

"It is pretty impressive," McLauchlin said. "This has been ten to eleven years in the making."

A total of $8 million has been invested for all four phases, McLauchlin said.

"That is great news for the county and the residents in that area," Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities spokesman Randy Etters said. "We believe the county is acting in the best interest of the residents in this area and we look forward to working with them upon completion of the project."

The utility has served as a subcontractor for the sewer already in that region of the county, handling administration, operations and maintenance of the system.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

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Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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